Pack Sizes

As manufacturers of consumer products juggle the balls of sales, cost and price, they come up with all sorts of schemes to “fool” customers — the snack bar people like Cadbury or Hershey are experts at this, decreasing the product’s size without raising the price thereof, so that people think that they’re still paying the same for that chocolate bar, and they are, except that they’re in essence paying more per ounce. It’s an old game, and one that I’m fully familiar with (and one that everybody should be fully familiar with, by the way). And as long as it happens with non-essentials like snack bars, I’m indifferent.

Unfortunately, now we seem to be facing this nonsense in our most basic of commodities, .22 ammo. Here’s an example, in an online flyer I received in the old Inbox just yesterday:

We’re all used to the venerable 500-round “brick” (as seen in the Remington Thunderbolts), of course, which is basically just a combo pack of the normal 50- or 100-round boxes. But we also see CCI’s little sneaker: the 300-round box which keeps it well below the $25 price point and Federal’s 275-round box which keeps the purchase below the $20 price point; but on a per-round basis, boxing the ammo like this can disguise a horribly-expensive price. At least this doesn’t seem to be the case here, because it’s a “Sale”. For those who don’t want to do the arithmetic:
Thunderbolt — 6 cents per round
CCI — 6.25 cents per round
Federal — 5.8 cents per round

Likewise, at the bulk end of the scale, we find products like this:

…which equates to 7.9 cents per round. Note that the quantity is 1,575 rounds and not the “three-brick” 1,500 rounds, making brick-by-brick price comparisons impossible without a calculator.

Indeed, all this pack-size differential seems to be designed on just that basis: to confuse the consumer. Certainly, it’s not to overcome pack design constraints or anything like that. So here’s my call to the ammo manufacturers:

Quit fucking us around with this nonsense. Sell your ammo in quantities of 50, 100 and 500, just like you always did, and quit trying to hide the fact that your company’s .22 ammo has become too fucking expensive to support a plinking habit.

I note, incidentally, that Lucky Gunner helps its customers by ranking their .22 ammo on a cost-per-round basis, which makes me smile because you can get to the heart of the matter easily when faced with a choice like this:

…just in case you didn’t notice that the “lower price” on the Browning applies to 400 rounds and not, like Aguila’s, to 500 rounds.

By the way: I love what Lucky Gunner is doing, but they are not always the cheapest, e.g. on the aforementioned Remington Thunderbolt 500-round brick, where the flyer’s price is $29.99, and LG’s is $38.75. But to be fair, the flyer’s price is a “closeout” deal (like they’re going to ever quit selling Thunderbolts — it’s probably a one-off loss leader ad item, more likely) whereas LG’s price is an everyday price.

Also, caveat emptor: a lot of times, the “great deal” you get on ammo isn’t, once you factor in the S&H costs — which differ widely between suppliers.

I’ll be talking a little more about the .22 LR thing in a later post. And just for the record: unless I’m buying target .22 LR, I refuse to pay more than 8 cents per round for the stuff. Even that price sticks in my craw, but I reluctantly accept the fact of supply and demand, and inflation, albeit with snarling hostility. My go-to CCI Mini-Max 40-grain ammo used to cost $5.99 per hundred — I have ummm several boxes with the price tag on them, dated 2006 — and now it costs $7.99. It’s like the ammo manufacturers don’t want us to shoot anymore.


(Note that in all the above, I’ve used 40-grain bullets as the common factor, and ignored any perceived quality differences in the brands. Frankly, .22 LR ammo is plinking feed, and unless you get a dud rate of more than 0.5%, they’re all pretty much of a muchness. Target/match .22 ammo is another story, and I’m not talking about that here.)

Not Going To Go There

Every so often a headline will stop me in my tracks. This is one of them:

Not hitting the link nor, as a public service, am I going to post it so that others can. I think we can see all we need to know right there.

I have standards.

Moving on, here’s another:

This one, however, does get a link because fuckem.

Yikes

I am SO glad I am outside the mating game, or rather, the mating nightmare:

The mate landscape is now so bad for American beta males that they’re wifing up late 30s Wall victims and aged feminist careercunts for one or two, max, years of tolerable sexual relief with a rapidly depreciating ASSet who will get her one kid with him after wasting her prime bangability on the cad carousel quaffing birth control pills like vitamins, and who will unceremoniously divorce rape him after the beta dupe has pitched in to help raise the little snotbag during the most inglorious, dull, and thankless years of its life between birth and toddlerhood.
No joys of fatherhood for you!
Only everlasting financial servitude and psychological destruction.
A sex market that rewards this sort of dynamic is irretrievably broken. We are spitting in the face of millennia of sex polarity, denying the God of Biomechanics his tribute. Instead of passionate love marriages with young women notarized by multiple children, we have socially expedient striver marriages in which haggard careerist shrews on perpetual headache mode diddle the bean to Fifty Shades of Gay and suck dry the resources and emotional commitment of beat-up fap-weary sex-starved limp beta noodleboys before chucking them to win cashmoneyshekels right at the moment fatherhood presumably gets interesting for the damned fools.

I love the way this man writes, but I’m ineffably depressed about his subject matter. Unfortunately, what he’s saying cannot be gainsaid, and therein lies the pity of it.

 

Poor Teachers

Teaching has always been one of those professions which is driven by passion or idealism — the desire to teach the young about a subject the teacher thinks is worthwhile for them to know — and as with all professions that can call on people with such idealism, the pay sucks. It’s just as true for professions like acting, advertising, music and the like: you’ve got a market which just begs to exploit its workers, hence the appearance of institutions like the Screen Actors Guild and teachers’ unions which negotiate things like pay scales and working hours.

The people who sit at the bottom end of the totem pole are the part-timers: the people who don’t work enough to qualify for industry benefits, or who are kept outside the part of the hierarchy which does. Part-time creative types (as explored here) employed by ad agencies are little more than hired guns, used for a particular project and then fired when the thing ends.

What happened in tertiary education was that the academe created one way to protect its long-serving or more meritorious teachers: tenure, or the reward for a person who could continue to work at their subject (with research and/or teaching) with a certain degree of job security. It’s the dictionary definition of a guild, by the way.

I remember talking to several of my erstwhile professors when I was still a student and thinking about life after graduation, and while all of them encouraged me to go further with post-grad study (a couple still pester me to do so, incidentally), they were also all very circumspect in telling me that my job prospects would be good (because of my scholarship), but my actual employment was likely to be shaky. Even with a PhD., the best I could hope for was adjunct-professorship, which did not excite me for obvious reasons. (Then Life intervened and I had to quit any thoughts of doing that anyway.)

So this article (via Insty) evoked from me a wry smile, because it epitomizes for me not the plight of the adjunct professor who’s been forced to become a call-girl, but just emblematic of the teaching profession in general.

There is nothing she would rather do than teach. But after supplementing her career with tutoring and proofreading, the university lecturer decided to go to remarkable lengths to make her career financially viable.
She first opted for her side gig during a particularly rough patch, several years ago, when her course load was suddenly cut in half and her income plunged, putting her on the brink of eviction. “In my mind I was like, I’ve had one-night stands, how bad can it be?” she said. “And it wasn’t that bad.”

Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness.

I used to know two women, one a schoolteacher, the other a theater actress, who had to resort to this activity because they just couldn’t make ends meet on their pittance of a salary. And I’ve talked before about how I feel about prostitution — or rather, the change in my attitude towards it over time. And ironically, female adjuncts have it easier because the prostitution market favors women over men. Men deliver pizzas, women sell their bodies.

Glenn thinks that this phenomenon means that the Ivy League should be abolished. I differ somewhat in that I fail to see why academics should be treated differently from any other profession — in other words, if adjunct professors as a group are being ill-treated by their employers, they should form a union just as movie actors did back in the 1930s. There’s nothing sacred about the academe, after all: it’s a profession like any other; and its purported lofty idealism doesn’t make it any more special — especially when the institution treats its lower-tier workers so badly that they have to fuck strangers for money just to make ends meet.

So they’ve started to talk about unionizing, with a predictable response from the academe, which has ironically proven itself to be little different from the Gilded Age robber barons they would normally excoriate. In other words, the education establishment is no different from any other commercial institution, which kind of undermines the whole “sacred mission of educating” nonsense they’ve been spouting for decades.

And if they’re going to behave like corporations, perhaps — no, not perhaps — we should start treating them like one. On current performance, therefore, their results are pathetic: high dropout rates, ill-educated graduates, no ROI on university degrees, over-reliance on government funding, overpaid senior executives and authoritarian management. And let’s not forget our original thesis: junior staff needing to resort to prostitution to supplement their inadequate wages.

John D. Rockefeller would have fired the lot, if they’d run one of his companies in this way.

Semi-Finalist

So in the ongoing search for a replacement for Nigella Lawson as my online fantasy woman extraordinaire, another contestant has come to mind: she’s over 50, somewhat classy — at least, she cleans up well — and boy… her other qualifications are shall we say, outstanding:

Now, I am not normally smitten by our Hispanic cousins, simply because I tend to prefer whiter-than-white skin, but let me tell you Salma Hayek gets me with her accent, too. I know that Mexican thing isn’t everybody’s favorite, but to me it’s cute and exotic (video link). And did I mention her other attributes?

The only part of Salma which might cause me some concern is that she’s that excitable-Latina type — all drama and waving arms — and I prefer a quiet life.

So maybe the search will have to continue…